Photo: Defending champions of the Berger Elite League Kingston Humming Birds
Netball Jamaica (NJ) conducted its lottery to select the six Berger Elite League teams for the second year of the competition. The lottery took place Wednesday night at the Netball House in Kingston.
The league is set to start next Friday March 13 at the Leila Robinson courts with all six teams playing in round one. The teams are defending champion Kingston Humming Birds, 1st runner up St. Catherine Racers, St. James Shapres, Manchester Spurs, Clarendon Gaters and St. Ann Orchids.
The league will feature all of the Sunshine Girls squad that is in training for this year's Netball World Cup with three players per team.
St. Ann Orchids who came last in 2014 will have returning player Simone Forbes, Shanice Beckford and Adean Thomas along with Giselle Allison, Kayan Cousins, Kimono Tulloch, Odette Harris, Sasha Lee Wallen, Suzanne Douglas, Titanya Blackstock and Shantal Reid. They will be coached by Conrad Parks and Rohan Robinson - both new coaches to the team.
Defending champion Kingston Huming Birds Thristina Harwood, Stacian Facey and Mellisa Josephs along with Nardina Wilson, Mellisa Wright, Kimesha Sterling, Monique Emery, Shanique McFarlane, Kimberly Thomas, Nalika Watson and Kerry-Ann Brown. The coaches will be Marvette Anderson and George Pryce. Winning head coach Chris Campbell did not return. He will now be on the umpires panel.
Anderson said that her team will be gunning for the win in year two. Now that the team members are known they will go into training to begin their preparation to retain their title.
St. Catherine Races who will be looking to go all the way this year will have the services of Anna-Kay Griffiths, Malysha Kelly and Khadijah Williams as well as Tashike Salmon, Samantha White, Jamila Tulloch, Nordia Hanson, Ladonna Lamoth, Shanton Matheson, Shalloy Walker and Shakera Beckford. The coaching staff of Christopher Smart and Natacia Nembhard retutrns.
St. James Sharpes was the only team to beat Kingston Humming Birds last year will be led by Sunshine Girls Paula Thompson, Sasher-Gaye Henry along with Tanisha Edwards, Denise Smith, Jodi-Ann Ffrench, Marion Campbell, Denise Brown, Staci-Ann Griffiths, Kessna Francis and Nicole Cousins. Jennifer Brown and Phyllis Thompson return to the coaching staff.
Manchester Spurs who threatened to go all the way last year will have Vangelee Williams, Shantal Slater and Nicole Dixon as well as Crystal Grant, Shanice Howe, Trishelle Williams, Jolian Buckle, Camille Brown. Trishana Hanson and Chantel Campbell. The coaching combination of Carline Graham and Tracy Griffiths returns to the team.
Clarendon Gaters who did not perform up to expectations in year one will feature Sunshine Girls captain Nicole Aiken-Pinnock, Kasey Evering and Simone Gordon along with Claudia Callender, Kadie-Ann Dehaney, Tracy-Ann Robinson, Trudiane Campbell, Apryl Thompson, Suzette Case, Tricia Brown and Charlene Grossett. Dalton Hings and Valerie Blake will share the coaching services. Blake moved from St. Ann Orchids to the Gaters where as C Lloyd Walker did not return to coach the team.
The colours for the teams are Manchester Spurs - grey and red, Kingston Humming Birds - pink and white, St. James Sharpes - burgundy and yellow, Clarendon Gaters - red and blue, St. Catherine Racers - blue and dark blue and St. Ann Orchids - purple and yellow. Newly designed team logos were also released.
According to Karen Anderson, general manager for Netball Jamaica, matches will be played at several venues across the island including GC Foster College and NCU in Mandeville to make use of the wooden surfaces which are better for the player in terms of preventing injuries. Matches will be played on Friday evenings except for those at NCU. She promised that new prizes will be given such as MVP. Additionally the spectators can expect to get prizes as well from the sponsors. Some of the other plans will be announced at the opening ceremony which will be held just before round one matches next Friday.
Marva Bernard, president said that Netball Jamaica was pleased to be staging the league for the second year. She said that it fits into the goals of the organization to deliver exciting, high level and competitive matches week after week that the public will support.
Sponsors for the league are Berger, Wata, Powerade, Gilbert. Courts, Spanish Court, JUTC, Image One and Crimson Dawn.